Saturday, March 8, 2014

“We passed a Howard Johnson’s and Mr. Kishi said we could go in there to eat because he knew the manager personally, and I thought he meant he knew Howard Johnson.” BSC #26: Claudia and the Sad Goodbye (1989)

Claudia’s grandmother Mimi collapses and is taken to the hospital. She gets some blood transfusions and then goes back home. Claudia gets testy because Mimi isn’t feeling well and is testy herself. Mimi goes back to the hospital, where she passes away in the middle of the night. Claudia gets mad and then feels guilty (I think she goes through just about all the stages of grief in 147 pages.) Eventually, she realizes that Mimi helped make her a better person and honors her memory with a collage.

Meanwhile, Claudia and Mary Anne are hosting an art class for various sitting charges, including Corrie Addison, whose parents enroll her in every activity imaginable in order to avoid spending time with her. Corrie is obviously unhappy with this arrangement, so Claudia eventually points that out to Mrs. Addison. She makes an effort to spend time with her…temporarily.

Interesting Tidbits

Claudia’s dad is a partner in an investment firm. Notice how all of the BSC parents are professionals? No one’s a truck driver or an electrician or something like that.

Claudia says that Janine’s IQ is “like, nine million.” I’ve always wondered about her IQ because they make such a point of her being a genius. I know a girl with an astronomical IQ. She just turned fourteen and is a sophomore in high school, although she takes most of her classes at the community college for dual high school and college credit. Her parents didn’t want to hold her back but they didn’t want her to be too far ahead of her peers either.

Claudia describes what she’s wearing that day, and it’s exactly what she’s wearing on the cover! Wow! Even the Christmas light earrings:


Mallory freaks out because Mimi scolds her for something she never did. Then Claudia gets annoyed/scared because Mimi gave Mal a bird from her collection. That’s something she hadn’t been doing…yet.

Claudia has a box labeled ‘art suplys’. That’s kind of vague. Shouldn’t it say ‘charcoles’ or ‘pant brushes’ or ‘pastells’ or something?

Claudia explains how to prevent getting salmonella from meat. Great. We’re getting cooking lessons from someone who probably would spell chicken as chiken. (Plus, I just hate thinking about raw chicken anyway.)

Janine’s college class (according to Claudia): Advances and Trends in Computerized Biopsychiatry.

I don’t know why this disturbs me so much: when Mimi needs to be rushed to the hospital, Claudia immediately sets down the hot tureen she was serving soup out of directly onto the table. She mentions that the mark has never come off the table. I guess it’s just kind of a horrible reminder of what the family went through that day. I’m more disturbed by the mark on the table than I am with Mimi being carried out by the paramedics.

During the first art lesson, Gabbie spends all her time mixing paint colors in the water and announcing what colors she makes. Later, Jamie decides to give her a lesson on colors and shapes, and tells her she gets a ‘J-plus.’

For some reason, Mary Anne’s handwriting looks shaky and off in her notebook entry. They always make a point of what good handwriting she has, but I’ve always thought Kristy’s handwriting was easier to read.

Mimi starts to feel better the second time she goes to the hospital. She actually makes a joke that she’s a vampire, because the doctors have to keep giving her blood.

Claudia makes a point of closing Mimi’s door in the hospital. She notes that Mimi had to get changed with the door open and wants to respect her privacy and dignity. At this point, it’s about the sweetest and most meaningful thing she could do for her.

Mimi, in turn, says something very sweet to Claudia, who doesn’t even know what it means: “My Claudia, never believe what other people say. About you. Never unless you believe it too. I love you.”

Everyone’s all awkward during the BSC meetings after Mimi’s death. Janine sits in on the first one because she doesn’t want to be alone (which seems sweet and totally in character for what little we actually know about her). At the second one, people are still being quiet because they don’t know what to say, so Kristy tries to distract them by talking about bras and food fights. One question: was this during the same conversation, or two separate ones?

Jessi’s apparently the only one who doesn’t want anchovies this time. I know it’s been mentioned before that Kristy likes anchovies. I wonder if she’d be up for my favorite pizza: pineapple and anchovy?

Everyone gathers at Mary Anne’s after the BSC meeting, and that’s where they eat the pizza. They also tell Mimi stories, and Mary Anne says the title quote as part of a story about the first time Mimi had pizza.

Stacey really keeps a sitting notebook for her jobs in NYC? The hell?

Claudia actually wonders who’s babysitting for all the kids of the friends who came to Mimi’s funeral, since all the BSC members are in attendance.

Claudia’s been extra tired (because she’s been working hard at not thinking about Mimi), so she worries that she’s coming down with leprosy, of all things.

I’d expected to cry at some point in this book, and I did…but not when I expected. The kids made papier-mâché puppets in Claudia’s art class. Corrie goes on and on about how her mom will be so happy when Corrie presents her Nancy Drew puppet as a gift. But when her mom is almost three hours late picking her up, she shoves the puppet at Claudia and says she doesn’t want her mom to have her after all. It totally broke my heart.

This is when I thought I’d cry, because I’ve remembered this part ever since I was ten: Mimi wrote her own obituary and even listed the correct year for her death. Janine uses it to point out to Claudia (who feels guilty, like her occasional frustration with Mimi led Mimi to ‘give up’) that Mimi just knew her time was up.

The image of Claudia’s parents hooking pinkies and saying ‘jinx’ made me laugh.


Claudia: lavender plaid cuffed pants, green shirt, suspenders, beret, fleece lined high tops, Christmas light earrings

New Characters:

Sean and Corrie Addison (10 and 9)—35 and 34

Next: #27 Jessi and the Superbrat

1 comment:

  1. The bit with the burn mark on the table stuck with me, too. I think because it's something that could very easily happen in real life.